reviewed by Michael Thomas
Last we checked on Arkanjello, they were making super-weird, topsy-turvy experimental music. Now they’ve released their full-length and…they’re even weirder and even more experimental. Vegan Songs is a near borderless album. Though it’s divided into nine songs, there’s so much jumping around and genre fusion that this could almost function as a mixtape.
In some instances, mixing influences like metal and hip-hop could be a recipe for disaster, but Gabe Williams and Michael Fox (again with the engineering hand of Ian Livingstone) are throwing so much music at the proverbial wall that listeners should reasonably expect just about anything to happen.
Vegan Songs can fit a number of adjectives: aggressive, unpredictable, groovy, funny… sometimes all in the space of one song. Album-ending highlight “I Like to Dance in My Spare Time” is a rarity on the album, one that features a groove that anchors the song from start to finish. The nine-plus-minute song seems to fly by, starting with a recording of Fox explaining why his friend’s parent thought the friend should date him, before the song begins in earnest. At first it could sound like an extended take on Daft Punk, but soon there’s a hint of aggression to the song. Essentially: if you’re not dancing, then fuck you.
Most other songs are not as clear-cut. “Quiet, Soft Funk” is not quiet, soft or funky, but rather deep, almost chilling, hip-hop beats. It gets crowded with noise at some parts, but decompresses by the end. “MSRP 49.99/Cash Rounding” sounds like it could be the theme to an important battle in an 8-bit video game. “Nirvana” (first released on their EP) also sound like video game music, and its epic quality can be attributed to Dalhousie University Chorus samples it uses. “Red Sea” shifts as much as an actual sea, pulling in aggressive metal guitars, hip-hop production and purer electronica.
Some songs are almost like a secret code. “Parrot Tasty and teh Zumba Queen” is an aggressively aggressive song (yes, two “aggressives”), with so much shrieking and synths that it sounds like a warped fitness class dance track. Part of this madness stems from its insane source material.
What makes a song vegan we will never know, but if I had to hazard a guess: music that is free of all fear.
Top Tracks: “Cinap”; “I Like to Dance in My Spare Time”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)